The amphibious dock landing ship Gunston Hall began making its way back to Virginia this week after heavy seas caused damage last month that forced it to miss NATO’s Trident Juncture exercise in Europe.
The crew reported battered landing craft and well deck barriers after encountering rough waves on the evening of Oct. 22 while sailing the Norwegian Sea. Although some sailors suffered minor injuries, Navy officials said that all were treated and returned to duty.
Bad sea conditions also forced the amphibious transport dock ship New York to detour to Iceland but eventually it made its way to the exercise, according to 6th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Kyle Raines.
The Gunston Hall, a 29-year-old Whidbey Island-class warship, had been underway with the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group, which was ferrying the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit to the exercise.
“All of the Marines aboard USS Gunston Hall who were scheduled to participate were transported to Norway via air to participate in the exercise,” Raines said in an email. “The Expeditionary Strike Group and 24th MEU made the appropriate transfers of equipment among the three ships of the ESG in order to ensure that the 24th MEU would be able to meet its exercise objectives.”
Crew members and technical representatives mended the Gunston Hall’s well deck and landing craft while in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, and the vessel left port on Nov. 5, according to Raines.
“The ship is operational and is currently underway,” Lt. Cmdr. Richlyn Ivey, a spokeswoman for the expeditionary strike group, told Navy Times on Thursday.
“After the ship returns to its homeport at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, the Navy will re-evaluate if additional repairs are required.”